By Jasen Pesick, Staff Writer Daily Bulletin
Two Rialto city councilmen have called a 6 p.m. town hall meeting today in council chambers to discuss the city's perchlorate contamination and cleanup efforts, but it remains unclear just exactly who will show up or what will be discussed.
A flier attached to a letter signed by Councilmen Joseph Sampson and Ed Scott advertises an "Urgent Town Hall Meeting on Perchlorate" and touts a number of invited guest speakers.
However, many of the guest speakers listed say they were never invited - the flier and attached letter were the first they ever heard of the meeting scheduled for a Friday evening before a holiday weekend.
The councilmen explain that the letter and flier were intended to serve as invitations to the guest speakers, which included assemblymen, county supervisors, as well as school district and local water officials.
"I don't think anyone knew about it until the letter went out," said Davin Diaz of the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, one of the few guest speakers who expects to attend the meeting.
"We don't think it's the correct way to run a meeting," said Manny Hernandez, chief of staff for City Council candidate Joe Baca Jr. Hernandez said he did not know if his boss would be able to attend due to the late notice, but would try to send a representative.
The letter was issued the night before a meeting between city and county leaders intended to discuss a lawsuit filed by the city against 40 corporations regarding perchlorate contamination in the city's north end. The chemical used in rocket fuels and other explosives has contaminated wells throughout Rialto and is believed to cause thyroid problems. However, that meeting quickly devolved into a bickering match that ended after 20 minutes with nothing resolved.
The invited guest speakers listed in the letter include Carole Beswick, chairwoman of the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board; San Bernardino County supervisors Bill Postmus and Josie Gonzales; California Assembly members Gloria Negrete McLeod and Baca; Diaz; and Sujatha Jahagirdar of Environment California.
Jahagirdar and Diaz said they are likely attend today's meeting. Most of the other invited guests said that while they may not attend, they may send staffers.
The letter states that the purpose of the meeting is to hold "the responsible polluters accountable for the cleanup."
"We didn't try to do anything to hamper people attending it," Sampson said.
Scott, when told of the guest speakers' complaints, said, "They can either show up or not."
There was many people that were skeptical about whether or not that the City Council people that called this meet Were interested in having anyone show up or not. There would have been a whole lot more then 50 interested people show up to the Town Hall meeting, but if they given more warning, but maybe that was what they were afraid of? maybe that is what Ed Scott, and the Gang was afraid of having. because that would be scary a whole lot of people asking for one thing! that one thing would not be lets get them, Lets go after that county and get that money that is due to the city Water to filter out that Perchlorate.
No!! No see those people would be saying the same thing that I am saying right here! Right here in the privacy of my own room? Why don't you quit this pussyfooting around and get to spending some money to filter or fix this problem. It doesn't matter where you get the money later, lets fix the problem now!! That is what they don't want to hear from a large group that would hear if left to their own and they would say, LETS STOP MESSING AROUND WITH BLAMING PEOPLE AND FINDING A WAY TO TAKE THE CONTAMINANT OUT OF THE WATER AND MAKE IT SAFE TO DRINK!!